Scottish newspaper the Daily Record today accused the Daily Mail of ‘twisting’official statistics in order to label Scots ‘subsidy junkies’and “spongers”.
The Record’s UK political editor Torcuil Crichton said the Mail’s ‘bid to whip up an anti-Scots backlash’over public spending figures had backfired after it emerged spending per head was higher in London than in Scotland.
In a front page story headlined ‘A deeply divided kingdom’yesterday the Mail claimed that the ‘gulf in state spending between Scotland and England had hit a record £1,600 per head”.
It produced ‘staggering figures’which it claimed were ‘buried in Treasury documents’showing that spending in Scotland averaged £10,212 per person last year compared to £8,588 per head in England.
This was followed by what the Record – which is owned by London-headquartered Trinity Mirror – called a ‘vitriolic’article inside by Ross Clark, in which he claimed Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s strategy was to ‘whip up the English into such a frenzy of anger that they start demanding independence from Scotland”.
Clark claimed that by giving Scots free personal healthcare for the over-65s, free prescriptions and free hospital parking “the message for English voters is: ‘Grannny McTavish is living it up at your expense'”.
According to the Record, however, the ‘deeply divided Kingdom’ front was not run in the Mail’s Scottish edition and Clark’s article was ‘considerably toned down north of the border”.
Today’s story in the Record highlighted the fact that spending per head was also higher in Wales (£9829) and Northern Ireland (£10,706), and that spending in London (£10,256) was higher than Scotland.
It went on to quote its own “Granny McTavish’- 78-year-old reitred teacher Sheila McTavish, who said the Mail article was a ”bitter’ bid to drive a wedge between the English and the Scots”.
‘I don’t why the Mail is hammering the pensioners in Scotland,’she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know any grannies living the life of luxury on English state handouts.’